Culture: April 2004 Archives




Wallspace Gallery shows the photo work of artists you probably haven't seen before. Once you have however, you'll want to keep looking.

The current Joseph Maida show is no exception. There may be a small world in each photograph, but they all seem to come from the larger cosmos of the artist. But the settings themselves remain pretty ordinary. So then how does this stuff become so captivating? And it's not just the luxurious light.

[images from Wallspace Gallery]

Joe Andoe untitled (Car on road) 2003 oil on canvas 57 1/2 x 82 inches

I loved this show. Period. But check out the stories on the gallery site.

[image from Feigen Contemporary]

Anton Kern is currently exhibiting two very different artists in his two rooms on 20th Street, and they are surprisingly comfortable together.

Jim Lambie, "Mental Oyster" (installation detail)

Edward Krasinski (installation detail)

one small work on paper (detail)

More group life from Providence, Rhode Island, even if these three guys are now sowing their art all about the country.

Foxy Production is currently showing the work of the collaborative Paper Rad, composed of of Jacob Ciocci, Jessica Ciocci and Benjamin Jones. Look for gorgeous paper, paint, video, cloth, music and sculpture, including familiar icons reimagined and everything invested with smart good humor. Don't miss the treasure chest in the back room.


(storyboard image for filing cabinet scene not included in the film)

I saw Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" in a movie theatre when it first came out, almost twenty years ago. I remember thinking it was exciting and pretty funny. B and I saw it again tonight at home. This time I thought it was terrifying. In 2004 it's no longer "retro future."

Another big surprise: Jonathan Pryce is really cute as Sam Lowry. I didn't remember that.


[image at the top from Trond Frittz lower image from MovieGoods]

19th-century terra cotta fragment newly mounted inside the Museum subway station

The Brooklyn Museum celebrated its $63 million shiny new front door and merry greensward with a wonderful party this weekend. The elaborate entrance shed and its landscape approach added no square footage to the exhibition space of the grand Beaux Arts pile and its architectural merits will be debated for years, but it definitely appears to be a hit with the its city.

The Museum inaugurated a new commitment to its community with "Open House," a wonderful show of work by living artists working in Brooklyn and a sadly postumous retrospective of the truly fabulous art of Patrick Kelly. I highly recommend both shows, but while we had come for the energy of the celebration and the honoring of Brooklyn artists, we were both bowled over by what Thelma Golden's curating has done with Kelly's legacy. It's about much more than dresses. The designer would have been delighted with both the style and heterogeneity of the people filing through all his gorgeous stuff on Sunday.

For many young visitors however the weekend will be remembered first for participatory art, music, funny paper hats and a spectacular new fountain with a sense of humor. The people we saw on Sunday both inside and outside the building were definitely not all of the sort usually attracted to sober museum precincts. It's clear that from now on neither this Museum nor its visitors, its true patrons, will be satisfied thinking of the institution as just a warehouse of dead culture.

Brooklyn crowd exhausted by art - or just waiting for the next fountain

David Humphrey Wave Watcher (2003) acrylic on canvas 96 x 84 inches

I used to think he was a brilliant, mysteriously compelling eccentric. Still brilliant and mysteriously compelling, David Humphrey is looking less eccentric today. But it's not that Humphrey is getting more conventional. Rather, it's that in the contemporary art world convention is just not convention any more.

While originally known as a painter, Humphrey has lately also been working with sculpture, and it shows. In the exhibition which opened at Brent Sikkema April 3 it shows in the intelligence of the sculpture - a carnival of enigmatic figures in weird combinations of clay, plastic, marble, bronze, found porcelain figures and fabric - and it shows in the paintings.

Ed Winkleman said that he thought the wonderful sculptures have really impacted the painting. If the sculpture has informed the painting, I think it actually gives a new form to it. Humphrey's imagery was often more ghostly and semi-abstracted, and today there are some hard edges. At least one central figure or group in each painting has a real, if more or less cartoon-like, shape. While these paintings may be shy one dimension, they have a very strong sculptural presence.

It's a great show and it should attract serious critical attention. The size of the opening crowd would have been respectable in a large group show of young artists who had brought all of their friends. Humphrey's admiring peers were there that night, but I'm sure they won't be the only ones talking about these works.

David Humphrey Twin Pups detail (2003) acrylic on canvas 44 x 54 inches

[upper image from Brent Sikkema]

detail of installation of C-prints

No, he's not a virgin to the gallery world, and it should already be clear that I really like the work of Joe Ovelman, so maybe I don't have to say much about his current show at Oliver Kamm/5BE Gallery. Actually, the real reason I don't have to say much is that the installation itself says everything. Even the individual C-prints are as much a part of the space as they are gorgeous independent images.

But you really have to be there. I don't think I've seen a gallery or museum space pulled together to better effect. The works themselves steal through several mediums, they're as fresh as last night (or this afternoon), and they should excite young collectors. Prices, even for original, handmade work, start at, well, free.

untitled C-print 20 X 16 inches

untitled (2004) C-print 16 X 20 inches

The front room includes a beautiful five-panel text piece titled "When I Grow UP," dozens of playful, framed post-it notes, a wall installed as a monument to the human/natural landscape reconstructed in the gallery's backroom, a framed nod to every new enterprise's iconic first dollar display, and an elegant black and white reliquary document of one of Ovelman's generous public walls.

detail of When I Grow Up (2004) color xerox and marker on paper 20 X 60 inches

The central gallery space pulls the art off the wall with two plinths, one supporting a handmade book, "Resolution 452," the other a stack of small papers marked "Blame Cher."

Finally there's the back room. Like most, Ovelman's includes interesting ambient sounds. Unfortunately they are not accessible from this post.

Rambles (2004) color xerox photos, dimensions variable

We're told Joe blames Cher for everything. Thanks, Cher.

[the images are my own casual record, and cannot begin to reproduce the excitement of the originals]

Daniel Rushton Motorcycle Seat (2004) acrylic on Panel 48"x60"

One of our happiest acquisitions, now from a number of years past, was that of three beautiful silkscreen monoprints by Daniel Rushton. Our guests usually ask about them right away, but until recently we were unable to tell them anything about Dan's current work, even though we would occasionally run into the tall young Canadian on our gallery walkabouts.

We were finally able to visit his Williamsburg studio earlier this week where we saw recent paintings which began as drawings on his computer before they were moved to canvas with bristle and airbrush. The most exciting image for me was this relatively large homage to the bike covered in a different canvas just outside the door.

Dan spoke of being interested in objects which enclose or are enclosed by the body. With works as strong as this and the others we saw on Tuesday, he won't have any trouble in getting others to share this interest.

[image furnished by the artist]

This page is an archive of entries in the Culture category from April 2004.

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